Pithouse at Scw7cwlk
of all; we acknowledge and recognize Tatau,
the Creator through Manakays, the Great Spirit
for all that is provided for us since the
beginning of time and still is today"
Statement from Hereditary Chief Qwatsinas:
The reoccupation, asserting and reaffirming of Nuxalk sovereignty
protects the rainforests in the mid-coast of British Columbia.
Other methods stall the clearcut destruction of the rainforests
but only temporarily. Reoccupation is a long term strategy which
draws public attention to the destruction of Nuxalk lands. The
reoccupation of Scw7cwlk by Suncw (Jesse Oud) and Alecia (his partner)
is a courageous action that demands respect and recognition from
all peoples. The "Land of the Nuxalk" has been lost for
a long time, but a rebirth is happening: the Nuxalk are returning
home to their traditional lands. You have our support.
Statement from Head Hereditary Chief Nuximlayc:
The Nuxalkmc must recognize and use their "Smayustas" (stories
of origin) again. Through our smayustas, we must bring back our
family chiefs and names and claim our watersheds that belong to
them. We must recognize our homelands where our names come from,
and our history originates. When these watersheds are destroyed,
our family heritage, and our way of life is destroyed also. I say
thanks to Suncw and Alecia for taking that step to protect the
Scw7cwlk. Nuxalk life and heritage is a treasure to the world.
1 December 1997
Statement by Suncw (Jesse Oud):
Yaw Smatmc; Hello Friends, first I would like to acknowledge the Creator
for this day. We ask all First Nations, and all other supporters, to
write to the authorities to stop the proposed destruction of Scw7cwlk
which is a unique place of beauty in this world. We ask you
to stand strong with us in defense of Scw7cwlk and Nuxalk Sovereignty.
My English name is Jesse Oud, my Nuxalk name is Suncw. I am a young
Nuxalkmc dedicated to keeping our culture and heritage strong.
As a Nuxalk sovereigntist I have broken away from the governments reserve
boundaries and have reoccupied a traditional village located in Scw7cwlk
(Skowquiltz) Valley. This village site once provided for thousands
of our people, and could sustain all Nuxalkmc today.
Since the beginning of time, Scw7cwlk has provided
an incredible abundance of salmon (four species), mountain goat,
moose, deer, wolves, black and grizzly bear, eagles, ravens, as well
as countless other species of animals and birds; all of which hold
the identity of our people.
It is from all these we get our
names, songs, dances; and are provided with the incredible gifts
of food and medicine from the Creator. Without these our Nuxalkmc
Way of Life would not exist.
Valley, my home, where I have constructed a traditional Pit House, is the
place I will remain throughout the winter and continually hereafter. Scw7cwlk
is slated to be roaded next spring, 1998. These roads are preparing access
to 55 proposed clearcuts. Permits granted by the Ministry of Forests allowing
this destruction by logging companies are illegal. We, as Nuxalkmc people,
have never ceded our territory, never entered any co-management or interim
agreements, or signed any treaties concerning our traditional territories.
I am writing to all who share the same heart and dedication in preserving
this land from the destruction of corporate clearcut logging practices. Nuxalk
Territory includes the Bella Coola Valley on the mainland coast of what is
known as British Columbia. I am asking First Nations, Canadians and international
supporters to write to the British Columbia Ministry of Forests to stand
strong in defense of Nuxalk Sovereignty and the reoccupation of our ancient
Traditional ocean and river fish weirs will be constructed
to practice the 'old' way of harvesting. Cedar bark and spruce roots
will be harvested for the construction of the river weirs. We will
transport people to visit their ancestral homes;
to check out the viability of relocating / reoccupying their traditional
location. We will mill material required for building and or repairing
or completing contemporary shelters. A Pit House will be rebuilt by youth.
To teach hands on methods of harvesting and preparation of contaminant
free traditional foods and medicines. To educate, and harvest traditionally
and ceremonially. To educate and transport people who want to use Spiritual
Healing. Cedar poles will be harvested and peeled for completion
of the Pit House. Spruce roots and medicine barks will be harvested.
Plots of root food will be sectioned and weeded for fall harvest. Digging
tools will be harvested.
Ongoing observation of Goshawks, Murrelets and
Salmon will be documented. Sites for fish weirs will be established.
Seasoned cedar bark worked and used for river fish weirs. Sacred sites
will be visited. Ceremonies and traditional songs and dances will be
Suncw (Jesse Oud) and Alecia canoeing to Scw7cwlk in 1997
NUXALK STRONG – NUXALK FOREVER